Gorgon and Wheatstone LNG workers plan two-week total strike

Workers at Chevron’s Gorgon and Wheatstone LNG plants now plan a total strike for two weeks from September 14 as part of an ongoing dispute over pay and conditions.

The Offshore Alliance, which includes the Maritime Union of Australia and Australian Workers’ Union, said last week that its members at the Gorgon and Wheatstone downstream facilities voted to reject Chevron’s proposed enterprise agreements.

Also, the alliance said at the time that protected industrial action will start on all three Chevron facilities, including the Wheatstone platform, on September 7.

“Following the outcome of the various enterprise agreement votes, we’re looking to narrow points of difference with employees and their representatives through further bargaining mediated by the Fair Work Commission,” a Chevron spokesperson said last Friday.

The mediation talks started on Monday and are scheduled to take place every day this week.

Further notice of protected industrial action

However, the Offshore Alliance said in a social media post on Tuesday that its members working on Chevron’s two LNG projects now plan to strike for two more weeks after the initial strike.

“In response to Chevron’s duplicitous claim that our EBA negotiations are ‘intractable’, the Offshore Alliance is escalating protected industrial action to demonstrate that our bargaining negotiations are far from ‘intractable’,” the alliance said.

“Offshore Alliance members are yet to exercise their lawful workplace rights to take protected industrial action and our bargaining claims will look more and more reasonable as Chevron’s Gorgon and Wheatstone LNG exports dry up,” it said.

The alliance said that its lawyers have served Chevron with a further notice of protected industrial action which will start after the first seven days of the industrial action kicks off on September 7.

“The new protected industrial action notice will escalate workbans and the OA will have rolling 24 x 1 hour stoppages each day for 14 days from Thursday, September 14,” it said.

LNG Prime invited Chevron to comment on the matter.

“Chevron Australia continues to work through the bargaining process as we seek outcomes that are in the interests of both employees and the company,” a Chevron spokesperson said.

“We will also continue to take steps to maintain safe and reliable operations in the event of disruption at our facilities,” the spokesperson said.

The Gorgon LNG plant on Barrow Island has three trains and a production capacity of some 15.5 mtpa, while the Wheatstone LNG plant near Onslow has a capacity of about 8.9 mtpa.

These two projects have a combined capacity of about 25.4 mtpa.

Japan’s Jera is the biggest buyer of Wheastone LNG volumes, while its compatriots Kyushu Electric and Tohoku Electric also take supplies from this plant.

Jera is also one the biggest buyers of Gorgon LNG volumes along with Japan’s Osaka Gas and Tokyo Gas, China’s PetroChina, and India’s Petronet LNG.

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